BJP Vs Congress, PM Modi’s campaign sets new benchmark for political PR and communications

BJP Vs Congress, PM Modi’s campaign sets new benchmark for political PR and communications

From front page ads to PR Stories, how PR shapes voter sentiment


Mumbai: The campaigning for Lok Sabha elections is in full swing across the length and breadth of India. Political parties are flexing their muscles to engage in the poll battle of power and politics. They are somersaulting to prove themselves to be self-righteous and infallible while accusing others. In the dance of democracy, where we, the people of India, are innocently mute spectators as if their voices are getting drowned out, a “Chunavi” rhetoric slogan storm is brewing, with the air thickening with mudslinging and whataboutery. This phenomenon is not happening only with the current election cycle; rather, the political slanging match of the election gung-ho is becoming hotter and shriller day by day, surpassing the feverish excitement surrounding IPL cricket matches.

Amidst the no-holds-barred electoral campaign, two incidents grabbed the headlines: first, Kangana Ranaut Vs Supriya Shreinate's queen-sized row over remarks and counter-remarks; and secondly, PM Modi slamming the Opposition (Congress and INDIA bloc) for allegedly eating Mutton during the holy month of Sawan, referring to Rahul Gandhi and RJD supremo Lalu Yadav cooking Bihar's special "Champaran Mutton". Both political incidents followed punches and counter-punches. In the rat race of "first to break the news", the reputation and image of political personalities get badly battered when the rumbling media beam such news stories. Political parties compete in their mission to condemn their respective adversaries, making election time, which is deemed as the festival of democracy, a season of allegations.

In a democratic country like India, where 97 crore people are eligible to cast their votes and shape the destiny of the battle of the ballot, proper dialogue and strategic communications play a pivotal role in swaying the minds of the 140-crore populace of this socially and culturally diverse nation, which stands tall as the world's largest democracy. Connecting with voters, shaping narratives, drumming up electoral manifestos to match the mood of the voters, and managing crises in real-time in this digital AI-driven world are highly significant to win elections. Here comes the role of PR and effective communication strategies, which could be key determinants in influencing public opinion on the poll pitch of the Lok Sabha elections in 2024. Managing perception as well as meaningful connections between politics and people entails strategic communications. This General Election holds distinctive significance for the country and the Public Relations industry.

Slogans wield a significant impact, setting the tone for the big battle of elections. These taglines encapsulate the essence of the vision of political parties and represent strategic communication moves to leave an indelible mark on people's mindscape. Whether it’s “Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas,” “Achhe Din,” “Pradhan Sevak,” “Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao,” “Vocal for Local,” “Make in India,” “Double Engine Ki Sarkar,” “Teesri Baar Modi Sarkar, Abki Baar 400 Paar,” or “Modi Ki Guarantee,” PM Modi's electoral campaign taglines have reverberated widely across the country. Crafting such narratives to sway the poll mood of the nation is a herculean task, highlighting the critical need for strong PR and communication strategies in election campaigns. The 2014 Lok Sabha elections, which saw the BJP register a landslide victory under Narendra Modi, marked a watershed moment in communication strategies and political marketing. The innovative campaign tactics and masterful use of social media have set a new benchmark for PR and political communications in India.

Notably, the business of PR and political consultancy has undergone exponential growth in India. During election time, the importance of the backroom system of 'Chunavi Rajniti' grows tremendously. From geographical boundaries to different political hues at the micro level of constituencies, managing the diversity of Indian voters demands well-crafted PR and communication strategies involving a wide gamut of functions. Political consultancy and PR firms bring together a wide pool of talent, including from IIMs, IITs, and top-notch B-schools, to leverage AI-enabled technology tools to hammer out effective campaign strategies, helping parties strike chords with their voters and appeal to mass demographics. Prashant Kishor-led I-PAC, a political consultancy firm, has earned many accolades for revolutionizing the course of electoral campaigns.

Gone are the days of favouring one's own people or bending to political heavyweights during ticket distributions. Today, the selection of candidates for election fights is guided by robust surveys and data analysis conducted by political consultancy and PR companies. With the wide network of the internet crisscrossing India, elections have become a digital battleground, which has thrown new challenges for election candidates and political parties. Winning and losing elections now hinge on the skill of engaging voters through effective messaging and impactful narrative. The ever-growing footprint of political consultancy and PR communications on the poll pitch undeniably reflects this shift. The convergence of strategic communications, data analytics, and AI-driven technology has reshaped the dynamics of PR and electioneering in India.

As the Lok Sabha Election 2024 is billed to be the launching pad for making India a Viksit Bharat, the PR industry would play its king-size role in building trustworthy and reliable communications. On the occasion of National PR Day, celebrated every year on April 21, the Public Relations and Communications industry underlines the warm sentiment of one proverbial saying: "A good PR story is infinitely more effective than a front-page ad."